Wednesday, June 22, 2016

X Whoa Man

I like the X-Men. I have for as long as I've known they existed, which was, admittedly, long after they began existing. It was one of my favorite comics when I was really hard into comics and many of the characters and storylines stick with me.

I absolutely saw the movie on opening day. And the same X-2. And X-3. And... that was it.

Because, here's my secret, I don't like the Dark Phoenix storyline. I never have. I don't even like Jean Grey. Or Cyclops. Both of those characters always sort of rubbed me the wrong way. They were so perfect and tragic and completely boring. And X-3 was objectively not awesome. Like, not a single one of my friends came out of that movie happy.

So, I didn't go see First Class. It seemed like a lame attempt to get away from the travesty of X-3. Double that for Days of Future Past.

But then someone pointed out that Quicksilver was in Days. Played by Evan Peters. I love Evan Peters. And Quicksilver. So, for my birthday this year, I sat down and watched (most of) both those movies.

I didn't love them. Mystique, who is a strong, complex character in the comics, was reduced to one, single, whiny character trait. Emma Frost was told to "go fetch some ice" and she fucking did it. Angel (not to be confused with Angel) was asked if she wanted a job where she could keep her clothes on and then, as the stripper, she was the fist to go turncoat. The black guy who's one power was adapting to survive frakking died. It was just... really disappointing in so many ways.

So, I was one thousand percent not interested in seeing Apocalypse. Except... Quicksilver. I did love him. And the rumor was he'd be in it more. Then I saw a trailer. Nightcrawler was in it too.

Dammit.

So, I saw the movie.

Guys.

Guys...

It's really good.

I mean, okay, maybe that's a exaggeration. It's not perfect. There are so many characters being introduced that several of them get no development. Like, at all.

I think, of all of the superhero franchises currently doing movie things, X-Men is the most... about the characters. Like, there's a nearly infinite roster for them to pull from. I get really excited when I hear that one of my favorites is getting pulled into the spotlight. I mean, there are the usuals, the ones who's names are synonymous with the title. But the side characters are always a treat. So, let's talk about them some, yeah?

Spoilers ahead, probably.

Angel gets at least two makeovers, but we really don't get to know him beyond his love for breaking bottles and Metallica. Made me sad because I've always loved him. But, honestly, he doesn't really make much sense in this movie. I mean, Apocalypse is supposed to pick the best mutants to be his horsemen, right? Storm makes sense. Psylocke... that's fine, I guess. Magneto, fuck yeah, get that guy. But Angel? I mean, even in the comics his main powers are having wings, being pretty, and wealth. In this movie, he seems to be lacking the latter. Though he does make up for it with fighting skills, we're told. And, I mean, I guess that's true. But the pacifist beats him both times they fight.

Psylocke... well, she's hot and makes energy weapons that cut things. Unless the weapon is a whip and around the neck of a main character, then it doesn't cut. It just pulls. And that's the end of her. I don't know even know if Apocalypse's magical make-over powers worked on her.

Storm was pretty great. I was surprised that she started out as a bad guy, but it made sense. And her turn at the end was perfect. I've always loved Storm's design. I really liked that they went with the Ultimate version (which is based on a version from the 80s?). Alexandra Shipp really pulled of the character, IMO.

Magneto is, I think, better in the movies than he was in any of the comics I read. I'm not saying he was never that good in comics, just my small little segment of the comics. I love the tragedy in him. Michael Fassbender plays him so well. My main issue is his turn in the beginning. This is totally personal, but I am 1000% done with watching terrible things happen to dark-haired, blue-eyed little girls. Also, Apocalypse didn't really change Magneto's look. Just gave him a new version of the armor he's had before. Everyone else got new hair-dos and stuff. So, I dunno what's up with that.

Jean Grey, as I mentioned before, has never been my favorite. For a long time it seemed like her only real powers were being pretty and dying. But Sophie Turner is so good. She brings a lot Sansa Stark to the role and makes me actually believe that she's afraid of her powers. But she doesn't come across as totally fearful. Throughout it all she has an underlying strength. Even if some of her lines are really terribly written. I don't know who was in charge of her dialogue. It wasn't great.

Cyclops is another long time unliked character of mine. It always seemed, in all the comics, cartoons, and movies, that the writers wanted me to believe there was more substance than they showed. Or that he was cool enough to not need it. Or something. I dunno. He was just the typical flat, vanilla leader character. But this time, I like him. I'm not sure exactly what changed, maybe it was him being actually unsure and following Jean's lead. He backed her up and was supportive and that was really great.

Jubilee what do we have to do to get her to actually be in a movie as more than a cameo? Because I'll do it.

Nightcralwer is perfect and adorable. I love everything about him. Kodi Smit-McPhee is so incredible. I love the moment when he's in the ring with Angel and Angel tells him they have to fight or die. Nightcrawler goes into entertainer mode, getting all showy with his attacks until he realizes he's actually hurt Angel. It's perfect. And when he fights Angel the second time and, rather than hurt him, he ports him into a trap. They just did a really great job with his characterization. Side note, for some reason, Google thinks Kodi also played Jubilee. But, for real, he voiced Norman in ParaNorman, so I think I love this kid.

Quicksilver is so good. "It seems, no matter how fast I am, I'm always late." And his whole spiel about being a loser in the jet. This is a huge departure from any version I've seen before, but I love it so much.

Xavier is my favorite version of him. Like Quicksilver, it's so different from what I'm used to, but I love it. James McAvoy is such a sarcastic, awkward, borderline asshole and it's fantastic.

Mystique, oh Mystique. She was so disappointing in the other movies, but in this one, she shines. She's brave and heroic. And also awkward and clearly undersocialized. But she was such an active participant in every part of the movie. She drove it.

Anyway.

I really like this movie. I'm not sure I'd really recommend it, especially not to someone who isn't really into superheroes. But I've seen it twice now. I might see it again. I'm gonna buy the blu-ray. I think it's probably the best one since X-2.

But that could also just be Nightcrawler.

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